Master of Malt is a whisky and spirits merchant, and it’s also making its own line of spirits from privately bottled single malt scotches from all over Scotland — including at least one I’d never even heard of before. We sampled a solid five of these offerings, with results all over the proverbial map.
Master of Malt M’Orkney 11 Years Old – Good honey character, with strong sherry notes laced throughout and a touch of smokiness, too. There’s a touch of bitterness in the mix that makes things a little unbalanced, but a vanilla note that comes back in the end makes it all worthwhile. 80 proof. B+ / $58
Master of Malt Arran 12 Years Old – Something funky about this one, and not in a good way. Ultra-briny, with a kind of citrus peel (grapefruit?) overtone. Diesel fuel in the nose and the body, with a hard finish. This is a wild experience that you’ll either love or hate. I’m not a big fan. 80 proof. C- / $75
Master of Malt Tamnavulin 16 Years Old – Good lord, this is something unusual and totally off the wall, and not in a good way, with a kind of burnt wood-meets-raw alcohol body. Deadly finish with a distinct unpleasantness. Not a fan. 110.2 proof. D / $100
Master of Malt Tomantin Cask Strength 19 Years Old – Something more traditional, though not expected, with a huge briny character, peat smoke, and, curiously, a little cocoa powder on the back end. A connoisseur’s whisky, it’s complicated and big, with a huge finish. Worth a try, but be prepared to be a bit flummoxed by its intricacies. 115.2 proof. B+ / $115
Master of Malt Bowmore 26 Years Old – Huge with smoke and wood character, it needs water to make it accessible. 26 years in oak have given this whisky a big honey backbone, with some flowery notes in there, too. The finish is surprisingly short, but it’s definitely worthwhile. 106.8 proof. B+ / $165